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EuroTrash ‘Pistolero’ Monday!

It was a happy Mr. Tinkov in Spain on Sunday, what a difference a year makes. We have all the results, video and rider comments from Spain, Britain and Canada in a jam-packed EuroTrash Monday. Plus another positive for Scinto, Paris-Tours teams, more transfers…yip everything!

TOP STORY: Another Positive for Scinto
Neri Sottoli team manager, Luca Scinto has another rider doping positive, this time it is his top Giro d’Italia 2014 finisher; Matteo Rabottini. You will remember Scinto professing his innocence of any knowledge of the doping when two of his riders; Danilo Di Luca and Mauro Santambrogio were found positive in 2013. Rabottini finished 17th in the Giro d’Italia, 3rd in the Italian National championships, 3rd overall in the Tour of Slovenia and 3rd overall in the Settimana Internazionale di Coppi e Bartali this year. He has been suspended by the UCI for an adverse analytical finding for EPO in a test taken in August 2014. Rabottini had been listed in the Italian team for the World championships; his place has been taken by Cannondale’s Davide Formolo.

Scinto and his team co-director Angelo Citracca have as yet not made any statements on this most recent of cases. Maybe it’s about time that the UCI/WADA investigated the team?

Luca Scinto, does he know more than he says?
Giro d'Italia 2012 stage 18

header-vueltaVuelta a España 2014
Only 165 riders took the start of Stage 18 in A Estrada. Robert Gesink (Belkin), Tom Boonen (OPQS), Fabian Cancellara (Trek) and Cameron Meyer (Orica-GreenEDGE) were non starters. Koen De Kort (Giant-Shimano) abandoned a few kilometres after about 30 kilometers.

50.5 kilometers were covered in the first hour due to the numerous skirmishes. After 64 kilometers an escape managed to stay away: Johan Le Bon (FDJ.fr), Hubert Dupont (AG2R-La Mondiale) and Luis Leon Sanchez (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA). They reached an advantage of 2:30 in 5 kilometres as Movistar took care of the chase.

At the bottom of the first ascent to Monte Castrove, Adam Hansen (Lotto-Belisol) tried his luck but it came to nothing, but the break was on its last legs. LL Sanchez managed to stay away and increase his lead in the KOM competition, but another race begun when the peloton was all together again with 18km to go.

Chris Froome (Sky) took two seconds bonus at the intermediate sprint of San Xian de Poio (147.8km). At the bottom of the final ascent to Monte Castrove, Christophe Le Mével (Cofidis) rode away from the group of favorites, his team-mate Jérôme Coppel took over but he was leapfrogged by Fabio Aru (Astana) 3.5km before the line. Following an acceleration by Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), Froome countered and crossed to Aru 2.2km from the summit. Valverde was forced to chase but eventually lost his second place on GC. Nevertheless, Froome couldn’t beat Aru for the stage win so the Sardinian scored for the second time at the Vuelta after stage 11 to San Miguel Aralar. Contador retained the red jersey with 1:19 over Froome.

Questions for the stage winner Fabio Aru (Astana): Earlier in the Vuelta you hinted that you were a bit scared of the second part of the race. When did you realize that you’re still fresh enough for riding for a second stage win as you did today? “This is the first time I’m riding two Grand Tours the same year. I have prepared very well for the Vuelta. I was determined to do well and I’m happy with it goes. It’s been fantastic to win for a second time.”

What was your strategy today and how did it feel to follow Froome towards the end? “I tried my luck in the steepest part of the climb, as my DS Martino told me, so did the second team car. I also had identified the steepest part one lap before. Froome came across. He rode hard. That helped me stay away and win.”

How do you feel about being a winner again at the Vuelta? “I’m full of emotions. It’s incredible to win two stages with such an exceptional participation but I have to remain focused till the very end. Later this season I’ll also ride the Tour of Lombardy and I try to make an impact on every race I take part in.”

You’re fifth on GC. Is that your goal for now or do you think you can beat those champions again on Saturday? “I live it day by day. It’s already an honor to compete with such top champions. On Saturday I’ll try to remain at the head of the race again.”

Overall leader Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo): “I believe Saturday’s stage will suit Froome and myself more than this one. It was very explosive today. On Saturday, it’ll be a truly big mountain stage. The rider I’ll have to monitor will be Froome. When he attacked with 2.5km to go, I thought the chase was the responsibility of Valverde whose second place was threatened. It was clearly up to him to work. We covered 50km in the first hour of racing today and I’m sure it’ll be the same again tomorrow.”

2nd overall Chris Froome (Sky): “There had been many attempts until I found the right moment to attack. This is another second place but I’ve moved up on the general classification. Given the climb today, I’m very happy with that result.”

3rd overall Alejandro Valverde (Movistar): “We were watching each other mostly. There wasn’t much cooperation. Purito rode behind Froome but didn’t catch him at the end. I pushed very hard at the end, so did Purito but I was always looking back to make sure that he’d stay behind me. But I don’t think Froome is better than us. We’re more or less at the same level but today he was the smartest. He’s strong but I don’t think he’ll dethrone Alberto from the lead in this Vuelta.”

Warren Barguil (Giant-Shimano): “I feel that I have progressed a lot in this race and am now in the position to attack in the final but I must focus my energy and wait for the right moment to attack. I lost some time today and that’s a shame but I’m learning and I can’t wait for next stage 20.”

Samuel Sánchez (BMC): “I am satisfied with my performance today and I want to thank my teammates for the help they gave me. I felt good and I hope to continue like this until the end and try to move up at least one position in the general classification. The Vuelta is still long: two more tough stages and the last individual time trial. I think several things can still happen.”

Christophe Le Mével (Cofidis): “I wanted to attack earlier and enter a breakaway but the fight lasted for a very long time. We missed it but at the end it wasn’t too bad because that was a finale for strong riders. I attacked in the last ascent to make a fireworks as a gift for myself for my birthday today.”

Paolo Tiralongo (Astana): “The climb itself was not very hard, but we improvised our tactics at the bottom to bring Fabio to the front and break some legs.”

Stage 18 full race report.

Vuelta a España Stage 18 Result:
1. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana in 3:47:17
2. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky
3. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar at 0:13
4. Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha
5. Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo
6. Samuel Sanchez (Spa) BMC at 0:17
7. Daniel Navarro Garcia (Spa) Cofidis at 0:33
8. Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha at 0:48
9. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale
10. Warren Barguil (Fra) Giant-Shimano.

Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 18:
1. Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo in 71:38:37
2. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky at 1:19
3. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar at 1:32
4. Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha at 2:29
5. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana at 3:15
6. Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp at 6:52
7. Samuel Sanchez (Spa) BMC at 6:59
8. Warren Barguil (Fra) Giant-Shimano at 9:12
9. Daniel Navarro Garcia (Spa) Cofidis at 9:44
10. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale at 9:45.

Stage 18:

Rohan Dennis (BMC) initiated the first breakaway in Stage 19 after 10 kilometers accompanied by Johan Le Bon (FDJ.fr), Adam Hansen (Lotto Belisol) and Jaco Venter (MTN-Qhubeka). They were reined in after 7 kilometers. 8 kilometers further on; Laurent Mangel (FDJ.fr), Pim Ligthart (Lotto Belisol) and Wouter Poels (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) broke clear. They had 3:15 lead at the hot spot sprint of A Guardia (59kms) won by Mangel. At the Alto do Monte da Groba (87kms), the lead had dropped to 2:25. Giant-Shimano and Orica-GreenEDGE were leading the pelotón hoping for a sprint finish for John Degenkolb and Michael Matthews.

It was all together again with 21 kilometres to go with Sky and Tinkoff-Saxo setting a fast pace in the pelotón. Kazakh rider Alexey Lutsenko (Astana) attacked and managed to stay out front until 5.5km to go. Samuel Sanchez (BMC) rode away from the bunch on the downhill where Dario Cataldo (Sky) had a serious crash.

With less tan 5 kilometers to go, Adam Hansen (Lotto Belisol) took his chance and kept an advantage of 12 seconds under the flamme rouge. Hansen is participating in his tenth consecutive Grand Tour, the 33 year old Australian claimed the stage victory fifteen months after winning stage 7 of the Giro d’Italia in Pescara, which is also a sea side town.

With one mountain stage and the final 9.7 kilometer time trial in Santiago de Compostela left to ride,Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) retained the Red and White jerseys, Luis Leon (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) the Mountains jersey and John Degenkolb the Green points jersey.

Questions for Stage winner Adam Hansen (Lotto Belisol). What does your second Grand Tour stage victory means for you? “I had a Giro win, now I have a Vuelta win. I like to do the Grand Tours and the Vuelta is my favorite Grand Tour. It’s always good weather, I love Spain, I like the heat. To win in Spain at the Vuelta, it’s very special.”

You attacked a lot before today. What made the difference this time? “Today it was a better timing. The profile suited me a lot better. We have a lot of pressure from the team to do well here and as the days were counted down, the pressure built up. As a small group went to the final, the two main sprinters were John Degenkolb and Michael Matthews. Their lead out guys were very limited. They worked all day on the climbs. I knew if I could attack, it would be difficult for the lead out guys to bring me back. I did plan to shave my head this morning like when I won a stage at the Giro last year but I didn’t have time to. The only wacky thing I did was I had three pieces of strawberry bubble gums at the start and I was chewing them during the first thirty kilometers just break the mind a little bit and make the stage a bit easier. In the finale, I wanted to do something for sure. I attacked a bit earlier than I wanted to but I said ok, I had to keep it going and it’s surprise, surprise!”

Where did you find the energy as you’ve already had a very long season? “I don’t have much energy left, that’s for sure. But next week I’ll do the team time trial of the World’s and possibly the road race also. Then I’ll go to the Tour of Beijing and next year I hope I’ll have the exact same race program as I had in the last three seasons with the three Grand Tours.”

2nd on the stage John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano): “For me it was the chance to get some points. The team worked again really good for me. I had to hang on. I was fighting for position. I started the climb really good. I found the rhythm behind Sky. It was really perfect but it was sad that in the end, we couldn’t control it anymore. We still had three guys but there was another climb coming and I didn’t expect the climb to be that hard. I’m happy for Adam Hansen. He’s a really nice guy. He deserves this victory.”

3rd on the stage Filippo Pozzato (Lampre-Merida): “Today I knew it could be a stage suitable to my characteristics, and I fought hard and held on the final roughness following to try a sprint. Honor to Hansen who anticipated all, and took the right time, where no teams in the group had the opportunity to organize a chase. My condition is definitely good and I’m sorry to have missed a chance to show it in full. During the sprint I had to slow down because I was locked into the barricade, there is no regret, however, to a 2nd or 3rd place. I think at this time I’m cooler than other opponents and I can see in the right way my next appointments that are coming.”

Overall leader Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo): “Today took some energy out of us but that’s the way it is every day. It was important to maintain a good position. There was an incredible crash in the downhill. It was a very nervous finish. Plus, there was no team able to control for the sprinters. I dropped back a little in the last kilometer to avoid a crash. Sometimes we take it easier under the rain but we were riding full gas in the downhill. I don’t know how I managed to change of trajectory and avoid crashing. If you had told me I’d be in this position I wouldn’t have believed it. We still have a very hard stage ahead of us with a very strong rival. I sleep well. I put some TV show on the computer and I watch 2 or 3 episodes. [About Chris Froome] We saluted each other at the hotel. We have a very good relationship. On the road, we’re all rivals. With him, we share a mutual admiration. That’s a good thing. I can only thank the fans. Every stage brings an incredible tribute. I have a debt towards them.”

2nd overall Chris Froome (Sky): “It’s been a hard day again. My team rode at the front just to stay safe. I feel tired but I guess that’s normal for stage 19 of a Grand Tour. Tomorrow is the last stage to really put everything down. We’ll see what happens.”

King of the Mountains leader Luis Leon Sanchez (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA): “It wasn’t a quiet stage today as it doesn’t exist at the Vuelta this year but it’s been a quiet day as far as the polka dot jersey defense is concerned. Keeping this jersey till the end depends more on how Alejandro and Alberto will ride tomorrow than myself. We’re at the end of the Vuelta and I’m tired. But everyone is.”

Samuel Sánchez (BMC) explained his attack on the descent with 5.5 km to go: “It was more to do my own pace on the descent because I preferred to avoid crashing as happened to Dario Cataldo of Team Sky. Tomorrow will be the last tough stage and Contador will defend his red jersey, while the rest of us will try to move up. How much depends on how much strength you have left. For sure, this Vuelta has been really spectacular until now and that has been good for the fans.”

Read the full stage race report here.

Vuelta a España Stage 19 Result:
1. Adam Hansen (Aus) Lotto Belisol in 4:21:58
2. John Degenkolb (Ger) Giant-Shimano at 0:05
3. Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Lampre-Merida
4. Yannick Martinez (Fra) Europcar
5. Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE
6. Geoffrey Soupe (Fra) FDJ.fr
7. Paul Martens (Ger) Belkin
8. Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek
9. Romain Hardy (Fra) Cofidis
10. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale.

Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 19:
1. Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo in 76:00:40
2. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky at 1:19
3. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar at 1:32
4. Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha at 2:29
5. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana at 3:15
6. Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp at 6:52
7. Samuel Sanchez (Spa) BMC at 6:59
8. Warren Barguil (Fra) Giant-Shimano at 9:12
9. Daniel Navarro Garcia (Spa) Cofidis at 9:44
10. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale at 9:45.

Stage 19:

After many skirmishes and a split in the peloton, Jérôme Coppel (Cofidis), Maxime Médérel (Europcar) and Lagos de Covadonga stage winner Przemyslav Niemiec (Lampre-Merida) took off after 30 kilometers of Stage 20. They were joined by Wouter Poels (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) 8 kilometers later. The four escapees reached a maximum advantage of 10:30 by the 80 kilometer mark, this incouraged Sky and Astana to chase. As the break disintigrated; Niemiec was the last of the quartet to be caught by the group of GC favorites with 12 hard kilometers left to ride.

Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) attacked 9km before the summit, forcing Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) to chase. Only Chris Froome (Sky), Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Fabio Aru (Astana) were able to keep up with the pace. Purito’s attempt failed and he was reined in with 5.5km to go. Froome and Contador rodeo on with Froome doing most of the work at the front. He accelerated one last time 800 metres from the line and was countered by Contador who went on to win his second stage of the Vuelta by 16 seconds from Chris Froome and 57 seconds from Valverde.

The top 5 of stage 20 was the same as the GC. The only change in the top 10 was Samuel Sanchez (BMC) overtaking Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp) for 6th overall. On the eve of the 9.7km individual time trial at Santiago di Compostela, Contador looks like being very likely to win his third Vuelta after 2008 and 2012.

Questions for stage winner and overall leader Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo). What was your motivation to beat Chris Froome? “It’s very motivating to try and beat a rider of this caliber. Considering the record book he’s got and the rhythm at which he’s able to ride, it’s encouraging to be able to challenge him. You always like to win against the world’s best riders. Truly, it’s motivating to win when it’s difficult.”

How do you rate your season? “This season has been a challenge. When I was asked if the Tour de France was my goal, I answered the whole season was my goal. I managed to finish all my races in first or second position, minus the ones where I fell. It’s been a tremendous season.”

How did your body react to Froome’s accelerations today? “Pretty well indeed. It wasn’t easy. Sometimes you think you lack rhythm or strength and the pace changes again. That’s when you have to know that you can react. You have to resist.”

Is this your most special Vuelta? “No. The most special for me was in 2012 when I won at Fuente Dé.”

But is it the best one for the level of participation? “Yes, for the level of the riders, this is my best Vuelta.”

Spanish coach Javier Minguez has included you in his pre-selection for the World’s. Does that mean you might eventually take part? “No, no, no. The truth is no. As I said I took my decision. I told the coach. He included me in his pre-selection but it doesn’t change anything. Other riders will make the team and deliver a good race. The Spanish is a favorite for getting a medal. I think my colleagues will do a great job.”

What is your assessment over your 2014 season? “It was a challenge for me to return at the highest level. Last year it seemed that my best years were behind me. I knew that I had many circumstances that prevented me from reaching my best level in 2013. It helped me to increase my motivation to work at the millimeter. I’ve never worked so hard. I remain frustrated to not know what I could have done at the Tour but the rest of the season has been incredible.”

To what extend the duel with Froome motivates you ahead of next season? “It’s very motivating because he’s the point of reference of world’s cycling. To be with him and to be able to beat him brings an extra motivation. Once next year will start, we’ll start everything from scratch again.”

2nd overall Chris Froome (Sky): “We have done everything we could to distance Alberto. My teammates did a fantastic job to tighten the race, allowing me to make a difference in the end and put Alberto in trouble. I gave everything on the last climb. Unfortunately, I ended up taking him. That’s racing, I guess. I tried to take him down but he was stronger than me. Considering how I came to this race, I cannot be happier. I started with limited ambition. I did not know if he would fight for the top ten, the podium or the final victory. I am very happy to finish second. It will give me a lot of motivation for the future. This podium is an achievement for me. Back from a serious injury with a broken hand. I have not been able to train in ideal conditions ”

3rd overall Alejandro Valverde (Movistar): “We are very happy to finish on the podium again. I never felt that was endangered. I had good legs and everything under control. We were unlucky to lose Nairo [Quintana] by a fall. Both would have made a different Vuelta but we should be happy with what we’ve done: third with two stage wins. ”

4th overall Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha): “There are more good riders than me and when that happens you can not do anything else. I thought I had to give everything today. If it goes well I’m glad I gave my best. I tried from afar. I enjoyed the climb. I’m pretty realistic. I have not been up to … well I’ve been to my height. Froome and riders like Alberto are above. It is logical that he [Alejandro Valverde] is the WorldTour leader. I have not seen the circuit yet but they say the circuit is very good. We’ll talk to the coach. I am shortlisted. He said it will be a very tough competition. Alejandro starts as the favorite.”

6th on the stage Warren Barguil (Giant-Shimano): “My knee really hurts since I hit the Cannondale car in stage 17. The physio did a good job but it still hurts. I raced with a lot of motivation. Sixth on the stage and still eighth overall, is a satisfaction as I had a hard time at the beginning of the Vuelta. Fortunately, I had the support I needed to get over that.”

KOM winner Luis León Sánchez (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA): “I never imagined getting this jersey in a three week Tour. But it has happened here in the Vuelta a España. Very happy for everything, especially for the team, very satisfied.

5th overall Fabio Aru (astana): “The rhythm was really high today on the final climb – the team worked to catch the breakaway and in the end I am really happy with my Vuelta.”

Louis Meintjes (MTN-Qhubeka): “The stage started of really fast and hard. There was this crazy fast descent in the fast 20km’s and the peloton was going full gas. Once the break got away it settled down a bit. My legs felt okay so I was pushing for a top result but yeah that final climb was really hard. I am happy to have made it this far into the Vuelta and also happy that all 9 guys in our team are still in the race.”

Read the full stage 20 race report.

Vuelta a España Stage 20 Result:
1. Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo in 5:11:43
2. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky at 0:16
3. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar at 0:57
4. Joaquím Rodríguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha at 1:18
5. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana at 1:21
6. Warren Barguil (Fra) Giant-Shimano at 2:51
7. Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Katusha at 2:55
8. Samuel Sánchez Gonzalez (Spa) BMC at 2:58
9. Daniel Navarro Garcia (Spa) Cofidis at 3:15
10. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale at 3:20.

Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 20:
1. Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo in 81:12:13
2. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky at 1:37
3. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar at 2:35
4. Joaquím Rodríguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha at 3:57
5. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana at 4:46
6. Samuel Sánchez Gonzalez (Spa) BMC at 10:07
7. Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp at 10:24
8. Warren Barguil (Fra) Giant-Shimano at 12:13
9. Daniel Navarro Garcia (Spa) Cofidis at 13:09
10. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale at 13:15.

Stage 20:

The Final Stage 21 of the 69th Vuelta a España was an individual time trial in the streets of Santiago de Compostela in changing weather conditions. Adriano Malori rode on dry roads and delivered Movistar’s third stage victory after the inaugural team time trial and Alejandro Valverde’s win in stage 6 at La Zubia. Rohan Dennis (BMC) was the unlucky specialist as he faced torrential rain and lost to Malori by only nine seconds.

The GC contenders didn’t take any risk so the only change was Damiano Caruso (Cannondale) overtaking Dani Navarro (Cofidis) for ninth place. Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) won the Vuelta for the third time (after 2008 and 2012) by 1:10 over Chris Froome and 1:50 over Alejandro Valverde (Movistar). John Degenkolb (Giant_Shimano) claimed the first points classification of his career in a Grand Tour, Luis Leon Sanchez (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) was crowned the King of the Mountains, Contador also won the combination classification and Katusha the teams’ competition.

In 2015, the 70th Vuelta will kick off from the region of Malaga.

Overall winner Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo): “I still have in mind a sentence that medical experts told me after my crash at the Tour de France: I wouldn’t have time to recover for the Vuelta but I’ve done all I could to prove them wrong. The day after my accident, I was already trying to do some exercises with my muscles. I didn’t think I was coming to the Vuelta and being able to fight for GC but in three weeks, I’ve had time to come back to the required level. The first time I’ve told myself that the overall win was reachable, it was at Valdelinares (stage 9). Until then, I was struggling but I’ve been lucky to always be supported by my team in the key moments, for example on the day when echelons were formed (stage 4). The time trial at Borja completely changed my views on the race. All my three overall victories at the Vuelta are special. The first one in 2008 allowed me to get the triple crown (Giro, Tour, Vuelta). In the second one in 2012, I wasn’t at the top level and I made it thanks to a crazy tactic on stage 17 to Fuente Dé. For this one now, after my crash at the Tour de France, I couldn’t prepare as I wanted to. Firstly I survived, then I attacked. Winning against the best riders, that’s what I love. The greatness of a race comes from its participation. We all fought for winning. It’s a bit early to talk about 2015 but I have a dream: to take part in the three Grand Tours. I don’t know if I can do it one day. I don’t want to make any plan tonight but I’d love to know that it’s possible.”

2nd overall Chris Froome (Sky): “I lost time to Contador in time trialling but it’s not a source of concern. I know how I came into this race. I definitely rode myself in. The Vuelta had a really high standard this year, I’m happy to have been part of it. I definitely owe this result to my team-mates. They’ve been behind me, they’ve supported me throughout the race, even when I had a few bad days earlier on in the race and I think that paid off. I was able to come away with the second place which, given how I came in, I can be happy with that. I have no regret at all on how the race unfolded. I did everything I could. I raced to the best of ability. As a team, we really pushed together. I don’t think any of us has any regret. Alberto [Contador] was really impressive in this Vuelta. If I’ve learnt anything about racing against him, it’s to not let him get any time because I might never get that time back. I definitely look forward to see what’s the Tour de France route will look like but for now, I’m very happy to finish it off and looking forward to a good winter break.”

3rd overall Alejandro Valverde (Movistar): “I’m really satisfied with this third place and my performance through the last three weeks. Save for misfortune with Nairo’s crash, the team was a-plus. I think having Nairo still with us during the second part of the race would have changed things and make the race different for us. Still, I think this podium is a fair prize to all the work we did – we also claimed three stage wins, which is also prestigious and important. It’s yet another podium finish for me in the Vuelta – already six since I became a pro. I don’t think this hasn’t been done many times before and I’m really happy. My season has been really consistent: I won races right from the beginning in Andalusia, I was there in the classics, the Tour… but despite all of that, I don’t feel tired. Contrary to what usually happens, every seasons seems to me like shorter than the previous ones, more than when I was younger. I’m still excited about the sport, the racing, willing to give my best in what’s left this season, with two beautiful goals in the Worlds and Lombardy.”

Points winner John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano): “I’m really happy. It’s hard to find the right words. Today, when Alberto crossed the line or when I saw that it was still wet for him and I realized it was going to be hard for him to beat Malori’s time, I was a little bit more relaxed. I went full gas today to maybe also get some points but in the end, everything is fine. The green jersey is a great reward for the whole team. I’m really happy to win my first green jersey in a Grand Tour. It’s very unique for me. It’s been another very beautiful Vuelta. I like Spain, because of the variations of landscapes and weather conditions. I like the Vuelta. It’s unbelievable, it’s great to be here in Santiago for the celebrations, I really enjoyed the three weeks of racing. It gave me a lot of motivation and a lot of energy for the coming weeks.”

KOM winner Luis León Sanchez (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA): “I’m the first person surprised to win the polka dot jersey. I came to the Vuelta to try and win a stage or more and at the end, only one breakaway made it to the finish. Because of the time bonus up for grab, the battle for stage wins has been strong. In between a few things, I happened to get the opportunity to fight for the KOM competition. It went well. I’m happy for myself but above all for my team. The first day I went in the breakaway, I sprinted for KOM points only to defend the lead of my team-mate Lluis Mas. It’s been a strange year for me. I never thought I’d fight for a polka dot jersey in my career. But as a team, we’re happy with what we’ve achieved.”

Stage winner Adriano Malori (Movistar): “I’m very happy with this victory. I wanted to try and go for it today because of the withdrawals of Cancellara and Martin, there was space for someone like me. What I did today is good signal for the world championship. I can’t beat Tony Martin, unless he punctures or something but I can target a top 5 if everything goes well. Today I had one of my best days of the year against the clock. I felt it and the watts I pushed also showed that I was going well. I’ve also been lucky to avoid the rain. I was scared that Froome could beat my time but on a wet surface, I believe he didn’t take any risk. After what happened with Nairo, we are delighted to come out of the Vuelta with three stage wins and Alejandro Valverde’s third place overall.”

6th overall Samuel Sanchez (BMC): “We put on a very good race for cycling fans and I am proud to have contributed to it. As for the team and me, I can say we always worked at the top level and we fought together to get the best result possible. For sure I was a little bit under the first five riders in the overall. But I am happy about that because my year was a bit peculiar. Now I will prepare for the world championships in Spain.”

Read the full race report on PEZ here.

Vuelta a España Stage 21 Result:
1. Adriano Malori (Ita) Movistar in 11:12
2. Jesse Sergent (NZl) Trek at 0:08
3. Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC at 0:09
4. Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Sky at 0:17
5. Jimmy Engoulvent (Fra) Europcar
6. Sergei Chernetski (Rus) Katusha at 0:18
7. Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Cannondale
8. Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana
9. Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek
10. Damien Gaudin (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale.

Vuelta a España Final Overall:
1. Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo in 81:25:05
2. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky at 1:10
3. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar at 1:50
4. Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha at 3:25
5. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana at 4:48
6. Samuel Sanchez (Spa) BMC at 9:30
7. Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp at 10:38
8. Warren Barguil (Fra) Giant-Shimano at 11:50
9. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale at 12:50
10. Daniel Navarro Garcia (Spa) Cofidis at 13:02
11. Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha at 16:44
12. Mikel Nieve Ituralde (Spa) Sky at 19:54
13. Romain Sicard (Fra) Europcar at 24:20
14. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin at 25:04
15. Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Katusha at 25:27
16. Maxime Monfort (Bel) Lotto Belisol at 29:52
17. Sergio Pardilla Bellon (Spa) MTN – Qhubeka at 32:00
18. Dominik Nerz (Ger) BMC at 37:25
19. Luis Angel Mate Mardones (Spa) Cofidis at 42:04
20. David Arroyo Duran (Spa) Caja Rural – Seguros RGA at 52:51

Points Competition:
1. John Degenkolb (Ger) Giant-Shimano
Mountains Competition:
1. Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spa) Caja Rural – Seguros RGA.
Combination Competition:
1. Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo.
Team Competition:
1. Katusha.

The final stage 21:

header-tourof britainTour of Britain 2014
Matthias Brändle (IAM Cycling) rode away from his escape companions Shane Archbold (An Post-Chainreaction) and Maarten Wynants (Belkin), finishing 8 seconds ahead at the end of Stage 5. The bunch was brought in 14 seconds later by Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani-CSF) with overall leader Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) saving his lead. Brändle, Archbold and Wynants broke away early, but never had more than 3 minutes as OPQS and Garmin-Sharp kept them close. With 10K to go they had 1:30 and Tinkoff-Saxo and Sky started to work. 5 kilometers out; Brändle attacked for his solo win.

Stage winner Matthias Brändle (IAM Cycling): “All victories are nice, but this one today is certainly one of the most important wins of my career. My breakaway companions and I worked well together. When the peloton started to bring us back at around 40 kilometers from the finish, we put the turbo on and rode à bloc until the foot of the climb. When I jumped away on the last few percentages, I knew it was make or break. I am really thrilled to have been able to cross the line with my arms raised.”

3rd on the stage Maarten Wynants (Belkin): “One way, I am happy with today, because I was feeling bad at the start of the race, and I was able to ride into the breakaway and almost win today. On the other hand, I am disappointed to not win. You do not get many chances to win, and today was close. We had to go full-gas in the end to beat the chasing peloton. There was one last hard climb, and Brandle attacked near the top. I went after him, but I couldn’t close the gap. It was a steep descent, and two sharp corners. I tried to chase him down, but there was not enough road.”

Tour of Britain Stage 5 Result:
1. Matthias Brandle (Aut) IAM Cycling in 4:32:03
2. Shane Archbold (NZl) An Post-Chainreaction at 0:08
3. Maarten Wynants (Bel) Belkin
4. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bardiani-CSF at 0:14
5. Ben Swift (GB) Sky
6. Rick Zabel (Ger) BMC
7. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
8. Kevin Ista (Bel) IAM Cycling
9. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Tinkoff-Saxo
10. Jack Bauer (NZl) Garmin-Sharp.

Tour of Britain Overall After Stage 5:
1. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step in 20:21:50
2. Edoardo Zardini (Ita) Bardiani-CSF at 0:03
3. Dylan Teuns (Bel) BMC at 0:14
4. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Tinkoff-Saxo
5. Jon Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Movistar at 0:23
6. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Sky at 0:27
7. David Lopez Garcia (Spa) Sky
8. Leopold König (Cze) NetApp-Endura at 0:29
9. Sébastien Reichenbach (Sui) IAM Cycling
10. Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar at 0:40.

Stage 5:

Movistar’s Alex Dowsett started the day 1:25 down on the GC after struggling in the hilly terrain, like Tuesday’s hilltop finish on The Tumble. But Dowsett bounced back after a double puncture while in Wednesday’s break and moved into the lead of the Tour of Britain with a brilliant ride on Stage 6, over 201 kilometers from Bath to Hemel Hempstead in the South East of England.

After making it into break formed after 20km, with several of the top GC contenders, Dowsett went with a three-man group together with Matthais Brändle (IAM Cycling) and Thomas Stewart (Madison-Genesis) and gained a 9 minute advantage with 85km to go. Then with 20km remaining they still had 4 minutes and Dowsett started giving it everything in search the yellow jersey that would eventually become real. Dowsett came across the line 1:50 ahead of the peloton; combined with bonus seconds from his 1st and 2nd places in the intermediate sprints, Dowsett is ahead of Michal Kwiatkowski (OPQS) by 34 seconds with three stages to go, including the 8.8km individual time trial in London on Sunday.”

Overall leader Alex Dowsett (Movistar): “It was the hardest day in my life. I got in the break and I thought, ‘I need a big headwind all day’. I just thought it’d be let us out, bring us back, and that’ll be that. I also thought I could have a good time trial, maybe, and I was leaving a lot out on the road there, I thought I might be giving too much, but when I saw the gap went to like 7 minutes, I thought: ‘That’s quite big’. Then, eight minutes, nine minutes, nine-fifteen, which I think was the biggest – that’s where I began to think more about the yellow, less about the stage win, and really started digging in.”

“I made an agreement with Matthias later on, because he’s a great time triallist – he’d win the stage because I had a good chance to take the yellow. He gave me everything; I couldn’t have done it without him. It was probably the hardest day of his life for Tom from Madison, too – he also gave everything. The team was fantastic in the car behind as well, Juan Pablo – they were always there when I needed them. I gave everything I’ve got. With Ditchling Beacon tomorrow, obviously Kwiatkowski going like a train – I’ll try to rest up as much as I can today and give it my all tomorrow. I still have got a lot to do in the time trial – far from over, but I’m in a nice position for it.

“It completely surprised me, to have my whole family there. I wasn’t expecting to see them till tomorrow in Brighton. Thanks to the Tour of Britain for looking after them, too. I got my sister working on the race for television – it’s pretty special.”

Tour of Britain Stage 6 Result:
1. Matthias Brandle (Aut) IAM Cycling in 4:44:49
2. Alex Dowsett (GB) Movistar at 0:01
3. Thomas Stewart (GB) Madison Genesis
4. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bardiani-CSF at 1:51
5. Nicola Ruffoni (Ita) Bardiani-CSF
6. Ben Swift (GB) Sky
7. Martin Kohler (Sui) BMC
8. Heinrich Haussler (Aus) IAM Cycling
9. Rick Zabel (Ger) BMC
10. Tom Veelers (Ned) Giant-Shimano.

Tour of Britain Overall After Stage 6:
1. Alex Dowsett (GB) Movistar in 25:07:53
2. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:34
3. Edoardo Zardini (Ita) Bardiani-CSF at 0:40
4. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Tinkoff-Saxo at 0:50
5. Dylan Teuns (Bel) BMC at 0:51
6. Jon Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Movistar at 1:00
7. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Sky at 1:02
8. David Lopez Garcia (Spa) Sky at 1:04
9. Leopold König (Cze) NetApp-Endura at 1:06
10. Sébastien Reichenbach (Sui) IAM Cycling.

Stage 6:

Omega Pharma – Quick-Step rider Julien Vermote saw his chance for the first victory of his 2014 season on Saturday. The Belgian rider was in a 5-rider escape group with enough of an advantage to potentially decide the longest stage of Tour of Britain: 225.1km Stage 7.

Vermote launched at the bottom of Cat. 1 Ditchling Beacon, immediately taking a few seconds on his former break mates after the group had a 2:43 advantage with about 17km to go. He kept a good rhythm and still had a 2:08 advantage with 8 kilometers to go, heading onto Cat. 1 Bear Road. Vermote held off the field for the victory. Ignatas Konovalovas (MTN – Qhubeka) was 2nd and Dylan Van Baarle (Garmin-Sharp) was 3rd.

Michal Kwiatkowski, meanwhile, forced the split with the help of Michal Golas in the peloton behind Vermote. As a result of the high pace on the front, yellow jersey wearer Alex Dowsett (Movistar) lost contact with the group. The gap was enough for Dowsett to lose the jersey. Kwiatkowski finished 4th and now trails Van Baarle by 19 seconds in the GC heading into the final day of the stage race and short time trial in London.

Julien Vermote (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step): “Today I was really surprised with how good I felt, because except for one day here I’ve ridden on the front,” Vermote said. “We won with Mark Renshaw and then Michal Kwiatkowski won and took the leader’s jersey, so there was a lot of work to be done by us and I was happy to do it. Five days out of six I pulled for the team, one of those stages I was on the front the whole stage. But every day I recovered well. Even then, it’s not easy for me to win a stage because I am not a sprinter. Today the team said I should go, and if the move would not win the stage, maybe Kwiato and I could work together in the final kilometers. I went into the breakaway at the right moment and we knew we had a good chance right away, especially after seeing what happened yesterday. We worked well together. On the second-to-last climb I decided to go, because I knew it was possible for a victory. I knew it was a risk and I made sure I went full gas. I really wanted to win a stage because so many riders on this team have at least one victory. Now I have joined them and I am super happy. I know my place on the team and I love to help my teammates, but it’s also nice when you can go for your own result when the opportunity is there. My teammates were so happy for me after the finish and it shows that the work I do for all of them, and the team, includes big rewards for myself too.”

“As you see, it’s hard racing here at Tour of Britain,” Kwiatkowski said. “The peloton couldn’t control this breakaway. Luckily we had a strong Julien Vermote there. He really deserves this win. He pulled so much for us, for me every single day and today he took a beautiful victory. Congratulations to him. We’re really happy about it. Of course, I wanted to also take back the yellow jersey but Van Baarle was still in front. It’s hard to control everything in a race. We accelerated on the second-to-last climb and dropped Dowsett, but it was hard to close the gap on the group between Vermote and us. But OK, I’m only 19″ down. There is the time trial tomorrow, which I said earlier in this race that it would be important, even if it’s short. Anything can happen. I have done well on short time trials like the one of tomorrow. So we will see. But today we are going to celebrate the big victory of Julien.”

Dylan Teuns of the BMC finished seventh to remain fifth overall: “Only the time trial can change something. I will just go full gas and see how it comes out. There are a lot of guys who are just 10 seconds behind me and that is not so much. Everything came back because it was a big road and a fast decent,” Teuns said. “That was a little bit disappointing.”

Tour of Britain Stage 7 Result:
1. Julien Vermote (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step in 5:12:34
2. Ignatas Konovalovas (Ltu) MTN-Qhubeka at 0:23
3. Dylan Van Baarle (Ned) Garmin-Sharp
4. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 1:20
5. Lars-Petter Nordhaug (Nor) Belkin
6. Kevin Ista (Bel) IAM Cycling
7. Dylan Teuns (Bel) BMC
8. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) IAM Cycling
9. Francesco Manuel Bongiorno (Ita) Bardiani-CSF
10. Edoardo Zardini (Ita) Bardiani-CSF.

Tour of Britain Overall After Stage 7:
1. Dylan Van Baarle (Ned) Garmin-Sharp in 30:22:02
2. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:19
3. Edoardo Zardini (Ita) Bardiani-CSF at 0:25
4. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Tinkoff-Saxo at 0:35
5. Dylan Teuns (Bel) BMC at 0:36
6. Jon Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Movistar at 0:45
7. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Sky at 0:47
8. David Lopez Garcia (Spa) Sky at 0:49
9. Sébastien Reichenbach (Sui) IAM Cycling at 0:51
10. Alex Dowsett (GB) Movistar at 0:59.

Stage 7:

Dylan Van Baarle (Garmin-Sharp) rode the time trial of his life in Stage 8a to hold off Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) and Stage 8a winner Bradley Wiggins (Sky) to keep the overall lead into the final road stage in London. Wiggins winning time of 9:51 was 8 seconds faster than Sylvain Chavanel (IAM Cycling) and 1 second more over Stephen Cummings of BMC. Van Baarle’s time of 10:16 was good enough to keep his lead by 10 seconds over Kwiatkowski and 22 over Wiggins.

Tour of Britain Stage 8a Result:
1. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Sky in 9:51
2. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) IAM Cycling at 0:08
3. Stephen Cummings (GB) BMC at 0:09
4. Jan Barta (Cze) NetApp-Endura at 0:14
5. Matthias Brandle (Aut) IAM Cycling at 0:15
6. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:16
7. Ryan Mullen (Irl) An Post-Chainreaction at 0:20
8. Alex Dowsett (GB) Movistar
9. Christopher Juul Jensen (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo at 0:24
10. Martin Kohler (Sui) BMC at 0:25.

Tour of Britain Overall After Stage 8a:
1. Dylan Van Baarle (Ned) Garmin-Sharp in 30:32:17
2. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:10
3. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Sky at 0:22
4. Edoardo Zardini (Ita) Bardiani-CSF at 0:37
5. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Tinkoff-Saxo at 0:42
6. Jon Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Movistar at 0:46
7. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) IAM Cycling at 0:50
8. Alex Dowsett (GB) Movistar at 0:54
9. Dylan Teuns (Bel) BMC at 1:10
10. David Lopez Garcia (Spa) Sky at 1:11.

Stage 8a:

Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano) won the Final Stage 8b beating Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) and Bardiani-CSF’s Nicola Ruffoni in a big bunch sprint of 90 riders. Kittel used both his brain and brawn as he took the wheel of Cavendish’s lead-out man Mark Renshaw forcing Cavendish to make the first move. Kittel held him off for the win with Ruffoni only millimeters behind for third.

One time race leader Alex Dowsett (Movistar) escaped in a group of seven, but was quickly chased down. From then on there were many attacks, but none were allowed any advantage on such a short stage (88.8km). KOM leader Mark McNally (An Post-Chainreaction) broke away in a handy group with Jan Barta (NetApp-Endura), but crashed. The others pushed on to be caught and McNally finished to collect his final jersey. After that the peloton was controlled by OPQS, Garmin-Sharp and Giant-Shimano for a bunch gallop.

Dylan Van Baarle (Garmin-Sharp), Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) and Bradley Wiggins (Sky) all finised in the peloton to make the final podium.

Stage winner Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano): “The lead-out was great today and that made the win possible. To start and finish the race with a win is really nice, especially here in London again. It has been a good week, hard racing but as a team we have raced well and it should set us up well for the races still to come at the end of the season. It worked out really well for us at the end today. We waited late to move up to the front on the right as planned and then Tom took me round the top corner before dropping me off in a perfect position. It was a hard sprint but I had enough to come back at the end and hold on. It’s a nice was to end the week here.”

Dylan Teuns (BMC) placed 10th overall: “I think I did the best time trial I have ever done. But when I look at the results, it is clear if I want to do a good performance on the general classification I will have to do more training on the time trial bike. The course was not so technical so it was one for the guys with power. Before the time trial, I was looking at how many good time trialists were behind me only 10 or 15 seconds, so I had to be realistic. I wanted to finish in the top 10 and I did it.”

BMC Racing Team’s Sebastian Lander captured the sprints classification: “I was hoping to do some good sprints here but when I realized it wasn’t really a sprinter’s race, I started going in the breakaways. Luckily I made it those two days and took the points. I am really happy about this.” Alex Dowsett (Movistar) was the biggest threat to taking the jersey from Lander. “I tried to get to the front to chase him, but it wasn’t possible. Fortunately, I got some great help from the team, especially Steve Cummings, who did an amazing job. He helped me chase the breakaway, then made the other break and took the points. It was really fantastic.”

Tour of Britain Stage 8b Result:
1. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Giant-Shimano in 1:50:33
2. Mark Cavendish (GB) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
3. Nicola Ruffoni (Ita) Bardiani-CSF
4. Enrique Sanz Unzue (Spa) Movistar
5. Rick Zabel (Ger) BMC
6. Ian Wilkinson (GB) Raleigh
7. Daniel McLay (GB) Great Britain
8. Nikolay Trusov (Rus) Tinkoff-Saxo
9. Adam Blythe (GB) NFTO
10. Shane Archbold (NZl) An Post-Chainreaction.

Tour of Britain Final Overall:
1. Dylan Van Baarle (Ned) Garmin-Sharp in 32:22:50
2. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:10
3. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Sky at 0:22
4. Edoardo Zardini (Ita) Bardiani-CSF at 0:37
5. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Tinkoff-Saxo at 0:42
6. Jon Izagirre Insausti (Esp) Movistar at 0:46
7. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) IAM Cycling at 0:50
8. Alex Dowsett (GB) Movistar at 0:54
9. Jan Barta (Cze) NetApp-Endura at 1:09
10. Dylan Teuns (Bel) BMC at 1:10.

The Final stage 8b:

header-canadaGrand Prix Cycliste de Québec 2014
Liège-Bastogne-Liège champion Simon Gerrans has become the first rider to win two editions of the Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec with a well-timed victory on Friday.

Fittingly, the victory marks the 100th win for Orica-GreenEDGE since the team began in 2012, Gerrans also posting the very first result at the Australian championships in the team’s debut season.

All did not go to plan for the 34-year-old, a mechanical with just 20km to go threatened his ambitions, but with the support of a fully committed Orica-GreenEDGE outfit the Australian champion was able to recover back to the bunch. “It was a very stressful last 20km,” Gerrans said. “With a mechanical problem with just over 20km to go I actually thought my day was over. I had to go back and change my bike but fortunately our team car was right up there in the convoy so I didn’t lose a lot of ground and the bunch slowed ever so slightly when I was trying to come back which gave me the chance to come back pretty quickly. Then I had some great support from the guys in the group to put me back in contention to go for the win.”

In the final, an early bolt to the line by Giant-Shimano’s Tom Dumoulin looked to have caught the select finish group off guard, but Gerrans timed his move perfectly to hit the front in the final meters. “It was a pretty quick run in to the sprint,” Gerrans explained. “There was a little group off the front, which Pieter Weening and Michael Albasini dragged back. I was staying with Daryl (Impey) who was going to lead me out, but with 300m to go when Tom Dumoulin opened his sprint up I had to make the decision to also start my sprint early otherwise I didn’t think we were going to catch him. I started sprinting with about 250m to go, uphill and into a head wind, so I went from a really long way out, managed to squeeze through a gap about 200m to go and rounded Tom up in the final few meters.”

When told about the team’s century milestone, Gerrans said it was a nice bonus but also a great sign for such a young team. “That’s a nice feather in a cap,” he said. “It’s huge for the team to have 100 wins and in only our third season so that’s fantastic.”

Earlier in the race, Orica-GreenEDGE sent Canadian Christian Meier to the front of the peloton to chase down an early breakaway of four riders who had built an advantage of over ten minutes. The 29-year-old all but single handedly dragged the escapees back by the 50km to go mark.

Belgian Jens Keukeleire then joined a second and larger breakaway of 11 riders with additional numbers bridging across but, lacking the commitment, it was wound back in with seven kilometers to the finish line.

World champion Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida): “It’s a pity for me I could not obtain a better result, because the team had been perfect, I had good legs and I was trying to recover position in the sprint, but I had to brake because I hit the bike of Vichot that had just crashed,” Rui Costa explained. “It was really nice to appreciate how my team mates turned into real what it had been planned in the meeting with the sport director. Jan was in the breakaway and it helped us to save energies in the bunch, the same was when Rafael was in the attack in the final laps. 
I received a perfect support in the final lap in approaching the hills, but later some chaotic movements forced me to loose some positions, so I focused my energies on the final sprint, in order to try to perform a recovery. Unfortunately, I could not hit my target because of the crash that occurred in the bunch.
I’ll try to do better in Montreal, in order to give satisfaction to the team, to my team mates and to all the fans that has been giving me a warm support here in Canada.”

Enrico Gasparotto (Astana): “It was the right time to attack, and I put my head in the right place to accept the suffering.”

Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec Result:
1. Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE in 4:42:54
2. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant-Shimano
3. Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Garmin-Sharp
4. Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica-GreenEDGE
5. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC
6. Gianni Meersman (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
7. Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Belkin
8. Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Astana
9. Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Belisol
10. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin.

Race action from Québec:

Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal 2014
Australian champion Simon Gerrans has become the first rider in history to complete the Canadian double, backing up his Québec victory on Friday with an impressive win at the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal on Sunday.

In another inspiring team effort, the Orica-GreenEDGE outfit dominated the final kilometers of the 205.7km WorldTour race, a complete lead-out still present despite a hugely reduced field. “I couldn’t have asked any more of the team again today,” Gerrans said. “We set out a plan at the start of the day, everyone followed it perfectly and the race unfolded exactly as we wanted. To still have four or five teammates there coming into the final was amazing so I am just really happy to be able to finish off some great teamwork again.”

After crashing and later withdrawing from this year’s Tour de France, Gerrans has rebuilt his 2014 season hoping to continue his form into the world championships in two weeks time. “It’s only comparative to everyone else,” the 2014 Liège-Bastogne-Liège champion said of his form. “I have worked pretty hard after the Tour de France and just tried to maintain things for the last few weeks leading into these races. Hopefully I still have a little bit to find before the world championships in a couple of weeks.”

Sport director Matt Wilson said the entire team had the utmost assurance in Gerrans’ ability to finish off for his second consecutive win. “On a hard race like this with a select group he is one of the fastest guys in the world and we are all supremely confident in him,” Wilson said of Gerrans.
“Even despite that, the guys we have here at the finish (Michael) Albasini, (Daryl) Impey and even (Jens) Keukeleire as well, these are all world class guys in that sort of finish so when you put them all together, it’s a pretty unbeatable combination.”

Much like Quebec, the peloton began today’s race relaxed as a four-man breakaway, including Jan Polanc (Lampre-Merida), Louis Vervaeke (Lotto Belisol), Ryan Roth (Canada) and Arnold Jeannesson (FDJ-fr), built up a gap of almost 11 minutes. Orica-GreenEDGE again took responsibility for much of the early chase, this time with Mathew Hayman for the long haul.

Eventually back together for the final lap, the attacks began and Gerrans maintained his position up front. As the front couple of groups joined together, the 34-year-old was reunited with his teammates as they began their domination on the remaining field. “We had a really good look at how the race went the last few years and we knew that it was teams with numbers that could control it in the final and come up trumps,” Wilson said. “We gambled that it would be the case again and tried to use minimum guys all day, just wait for that last five kilometers and really take control then which is exactly what happened. “Mat (Hayman) had the most work to do today. It fell to Christian (Meier) in Quebec but we felt Christian could possibly go a bit further into the day today being a climber and we could use him a little later on. Then it was up to the other guys in the finish.

2nd Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida): “As in Quebec City, here in Montreal too LAMPRE-MERIDA realized a perfect performance: Polanc was great in the breakaway, all my team mates supported me even better than I could have imagined, so I really want to thank you because their help allowed me to honor the race and the rainbow jersey in the best way. My legs were good, so I wanted to make the race more demanding. I also attacked in order to try to anticipate Gerrans, but he’s in a very good shape and he deserved the victory.”

Astana’s Lieuwe Westra: “The team was pulling to close the gap to the breakaway for a long time – I don’t know how many laps, but it felt like forever.”

Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal Result:
1. Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge in 5:24:27
2. Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida
3. Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Belisol
4. Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Garmin-Sharp
5. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
6. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant-Shimano
7. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC
8. Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Belkin
9. Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Astana
10. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin.

The Montréal finish:

header_lampre-meridaDiego Ulissi to Return to Racing
Team Lampre-Merida gives notice that the head of team medical staff, Doctor Carlo Guardascione, gave to the rider Diego Ulissi the authorization to return to racing. After having carefully examined the documents made available by the laywer of Ulissi (Avv. Taminelli) and considering the articulated rules and regulations of MPCC association, of which Team Lampre-Merida is member, the responsible for the health of Team Lampre-Merida, Dr Carlo Guardascione, while waiting for further evidence, currently still late, from the UCI and WADA regarding the dossier concerning the positivity for albuterol, has issued a positive opinion for the resumption of racing for the rider Diego Ulissi. 

Diego Ulissi will race the three competitions of the Trittico Lombardo (16-17-18 September).

Diego Ulissi winning a stage in this years Giro d’Italia

header-paristoursParis-Tours 2014: 21 Teams Selected
Here is the list of the 21 teams which will be at the start of the 108th edition of Paris-Tours, on Sunday October 12th, in Bonneval.

The 21 teams selected:

Lotto Belisol
Omega Pharma – Quick Step Cycling Team
TopSport Vlaanderen – Baloise
Wanty – Groupe Gobert

AG2R La Mondiale
BigMat – Auber 93
Bretagne – Séché Environnement
Cofidis, Solutions Crédits
Roubaix Lille Métropole
Team Europcar
Team La Pomme Marseille 13

Team NettApp – Endura

Belkin – Pro Cycling Team
Team Giant-Shimano

Tinkoff – Saxo

South Africa:
MTN – Qhubeka

IAM Cycling

BMC Racing Team
Garmin Sharp
Trek Factory Racing

All information about Paris-Tours 2014 at www.letour.fr.

Philippe Gilbert wins Paris – Tours 2008:

header_oricageAdam Blythe to join Orica-GreenEDGE in 2015
2014 Prudential RideLondon–Surrey Classic champion Adam Blythe will join Orica-GreenEDGE next season having signed with the team for one year. The 24-year-old sprinter will form a crucial part of the team’s lead-out train as they work to develop and deliver young riders Caleb Ewan and Magnus Cort who will officially join the outfit as neo-pros next season.

The move to Orica-GreenEDGE will mark a return to UCI WorldTour level for Blythe, who is this year riding for Continental team NFTO Pro Cycling having previously raced for BMC Racing and Omega Pharma-Lotto. Blythe joins Adam and Simon Yates as the third British rider in the Australian outfit. “I’m obviously super exited to join a team at this level and above all to become part of Orica-GreenEDGE,” Blythe said. “Everyone I know there speaks extremely highly of the structure and the atmosphere and that’s something I can’t wait to become a part of.”

The former track rider said he is looking forward to contributing to the success of the team. “I would really like to get up there in the cobbled classics, but I’m also really keen to become part of a successful team in general and I would take huge pride in helping some of the faster guys as a part of the lead-out train,” Blythe said. “If I can get a few possibilities here and there, that would be great too, but I first of all want to pay back the faith the team has shown me by working for the sprinters they’ve signed.”

Sport director Matt White welcomed Blythe on board, emphasising his importance in the team’s objectives going forward. “Adam will be a great addition to the team on several fronts,” White said. “He is certainly capable of being up and going for the win himself – especially in the cobbled races, but he will also be a very important part of our lead-out train. “With the additions of Magnus Cort and Caleb Ewan next year, it will be even more crucial to get our lead-out right. Adam is a sprinter himself and that’s exactly would you need in that position to launch your guy for the win. Above all, Adam is still very young. He turned pro at 19 and I’m convinced we’ll be able to give the right back up and program for his further progress.”

Adam Blythe wins the RideLondon–Surrey Classic:
London-Surrey Classic

header-boraDominik Nerz signs for leadership role in German team
Starting next season, Dominik Nerz will be switching to the pro cycling team built around the new German name sponsor BORA. The 25-year-old has signed a two-year contract. Nerz will become the captain in the team for demanding stage races and the Grand Tours.

Dominik Nerz on his new team: “I see an enormous opportunity for myself in the new team. I’ll be given the trust to utilize my full potential, and to take on the role as a captain for the key stage races. What’s more, I’ll be able to do this in a German team. There’s something very special about being there from the very beginning with the team’s reorientation and to grow along. Germany is getting interested in cycling again, and with this team we’re making the right step forward. I’m already looking forward to being part of this development.”

“With Dominik, we have got the dream candidate for our new team. He is Germany’s best GC rider, has his most successful years still ahead of him and he’s ready for a leadership role. This makes him perfect for what we need. With us, he’ll get a demanding racing schedule and the necessary team support to show his abilities as a captain. I am confident that Germany will soon take pride not only in its successful sprinters and time trialists, but in its GC successes as well. The goal is clear: Dominik is a candidate for the top 10 in a Grand Tour,” says Team Manager Ralph Denk about his new rider.

Nerz, who finished the Vuelta a Espana 2013 in 14th place and this year in 18th place in the overall rankings, is skilled in both climbing and time trials. This means that he is bringing the decisive qualities for the key stage races. In the past, his skills have been applied to support his captain. Now he will take on the leadership role himself. With this shift, Dominik is returning to a German team from four seasons with the teams Liquigas – Cannondale and BMC. He started his professional career in 2010 with Team Milram.

stage-17 of the Vuelta a EspaÒa 2013

header-astana2 Year Contract for Miguel Ángel Lopez
Astana Pro Team is pleased to sign a two-year contract with Miguel Ángel López, Lopez, from Colombia, won the 2014 Tour de l’Avenir – taking the overall Mountains Classification and a victory in stage four on Plateau de Solaison in France. Astana Pro Team General Manager Alexandr Vinokurov commented on Lopez, who will turn 21 in February. “We hope that he can grow with us in a two-year contract, and that he can be an effective rider in the mountains and at first help Fabio Aru.”


mini_PEZ_jerseyPEZ Fantasy Vuelta a España
Congratulations go to fixedgeardad who’s team flyinfixed just got the better of Allan Barr with Barr’s Bidon Bruisers in the PEZ fantasy Vuelta a España league on velogames.com. Yes I was last, but wait till next year! Thanks to everyone who entered.

header-skySky Crash!
It’s a dangerous sport cycling and that’s for the spectators as well! In the Tour of Britain, Sebastian Henao took a bend at an interesting angle. Lucky for him there was a barrier and a spectator to soften the blow.

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